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01.03.2009 Politics

Don’t demean the police---Deputy Commander


Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kwaku Duku, Deputy Ashanti Regional Police Commander has called on politicians to desist from making derogatory remarks about the security services, especially the Police Service.

He said Ghana had only one Police Service and any attempt to demean it would make people lose confidence and this could spell a doom for the country.

Speaking on the challenges the police faced during the 2008 elections at the Regional Inter-Party Advisory Committee meeting in Kumasi on Friday, ACP Duku pointed out that, it was time politicians desisted from playing prank on the Police Service.

The meeting which was organised by the Electoral Commission (EC) in collaboration with CIDA and KAB Governance Consult, under the project “safeguarding the integrity of the ballot”, aimed at seeking the views of all stakeholders on the challenges they faced during the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections and to discuss ways of addressing them and improve upon subsequent elections.

Political party representatives, security agencies, media, EC district officers, Returning officers, officials from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and CHRAJ attended and presented some of the challenges they encountered during the elections.

ACP Duku said before the elections there were a lot of perception about the police but the performance of the personnel during and after the elections had proved the credibility and impartiality of the Service.

He pointed out that, the police Service was neutral and there was the need for all politicians to accept that and stop the attempt to paint a bad picture when certain actions of personnel did not go in their favour.

The Deputy Commander, said accusations, counter accusations and unsubstantiated reports churned onto the airwaves by politicians during the elections and counting of ballots caused unnecessary tension and anxiety, which nearly created confusion in some parts of the region.

He said attempt by some party members to snatch ballot boxes also posed a challenge and called for the creation of additional polling centres in the region to ease the number of voters at particular centres.

Mrs Pauline Adobea Dadzawa, a member of EC in-charge of Ashanti Region, said the Commission had started preparations towards the 2012 elections.

She said the revision exercises which were going on throughout the country were to collate the views on challenges faced by all stakeholders during the 2008 elections and design strategies and structures that could help reduce their occurrence in subsequence elections.

The stakeholders mentioned the use of the last finger to dip into the indelible ink as a mark of voting, as responsible for the large number of spoilt ballots during the counting.

They said the decision by some unscrupulous EC officials not to stamp the ballot papers before issuing them out for voting also posed a challenge during the elections.

The participants also expressed concern about the special voting, especially during the second round, the transfer of voters and proxy votes and called on the EC to institute measures to prevent the re-occurrence of the problems in future elections.

Mr I.K Boateng, Director In-Charge of Finance at EC Headquarters, said the introduction of innovations such as the dipping of the last finger in the indelible ink was in response to complaints of attempted double voting, expressed by some political parties before the elections.

He said the EC would investigate allegations that some people were able to rub the indelible ink immediately after voting.

This is because, the EC was of the belieF that the 25 per cent silicon content in the ink as opposed to the 12 per cent used in previous elections, was suppose to make it more difficult to rub overnight.

Mr Boateng said the Commission was prepared to ensure that the right quality materials were used for elections to prevent suspicion and possible confusion during elections.